Theresa Braun has a Master’s degree in English literature and lives in South Florida where she has taught literature and writing for 20 years. Traveling, ghost hunting, and all things dark are her passions. Her short stories have appeared in several horror and speculative fiction publications, including The Horror Zine and Sirens Call. Her novel, Fountain Dead, based on her experiences living in a haunted house in Winona, Minnesota, has been released by Unnerving.
1) what is horror?
For me, horror can be anything that unnerves, or flat out scares the Bejesus out of us. The wonderful thing about it is that this encompasses such a wide variety of subject matter—from the psychological, to the violent, to the gory, to the supernatural/unexplained. And, what is so beautiful is that what one person finds disturbing or frightening is not necessarily what does it for the next person. And, sometimes this can be ordinary objects or situations. There are so many dark gems to choose from…
2) why horror?
I gravitate to dark fiction because it somehow fits into the core of my personality. Not so secretly, I’m still a goth chick at heart. Not only that, but I want to write about topics that are uncomfortable and thought-provoking—and things that trigger adrenaline. With horror, you get to explore so many ideas that matter, while also experiencing those hairs standing up along your neck, all at the same time. When you watch an effective scary movie, you’re literally jumping out of your seat. It’s a thrill to be able to incite that reaction from readers. And, sometimes I can even freak myself out during the writing process. Being immersed in the story can become so real that you transcend the physical world. It’s like being transported to another reality. That can be so cool…
3) where do you see horror going?
I see horror taking old tropes and clichés and pushing them in new directions. For example, crossing over into multiple genres has become popular. And new genres are being coined. A story can be sci-fi, but also horror. It can be social satire, but also horror. Not only that, but gender and ethnicity are being used in unique ways. We can see this happening in the film industry. Get Out is a fantastic example. Writers are tackling relevant themes and making us take a hard look at humanity on so many levels. Or, sometimes just finding new ways to scare us. It’s rather exciting!